An August 2016 video of minor league baseball player Danry Vasquez beating his now ex-girlfriend Fabiana Pérez in the stairwell of a Corpus Christi, Texas, stadium went viral March 14. The violent incident, caught on a surveillance camera, generated outrage and led to Vasquez’s ouster from Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, who signed Vasquez even though his arrest for the beating had been public knowledge. Pérez, the woman in the video, came forward on Univision’s news show Aquí y Ahora to share her experience with the domestic violence she endured while dating the Venezuelan athlete, who is now married to another woman.
Pérez said she met Vasquez when she was 14 years old and dreamed of one day marrying the man she believed to be the love of her life. “We met through social media. For me he was my only love. I said to myself: ‘I will never fall in love again,'” she told the talk show hosts.
At age 16, Vasquez was reportedly signed to the Detroit Tigers for $1.2 million, and once Pérez graduated high school, she went to live with the athlete and traveled with him. Pérez said that Vasquez began to grow more jealous and possessive, and she began distancing herself from her own family to please him. “I thought that over-protection was love,” she said.
Vasquez was later signed by the Corpus Christi Hooks, a Houston Astros farm team, and it was there, in 2016, that his violent assault on her was caught on camera. According to Perez, her boyfriend saw her talking to a male friend at the stadium and got upset, escorting her to the stairwell where he thought no one was looking and beat her mercilessly. “I couldn’t believe that the person who loved me was mistreating me,” the 21-year-old said. “I was in shock.”
However, that wasn’t the first time he was violent with her, she alleged: “During certain arguments we had, I always escaped and ran to my mom’s side.” When her mother asked her about suspicious marks on her body, she lied to protect him. “I always looked for an excuse to cover for him, so he wouldn’t look like the bad guy,” she claimed.
When her family realized what was going, they encouraged her to break up with him. “They told me to leave that life, that that was no way to live. But those were things I didn’t want to hear,” she recalled.
Although she didn’t press charges against Vasquez, now 24, after the stadium beating, detectives came to their Texas apartment the next day and arrested him. “I felt this fear inside. I didn’t know what to do,” she said. He was in jail for two days in 2016, and although Pérez said he left her with a fractured nose and bruises, she confessed she was more worried about her boyfriend’s well-being at the time than her own.
All charges against the baseball player were dropped after he paid a fine and attended anger management classes, according to Univision’s report. The Lancaster Barnstormers, which signed him after the stadium beating, let him go after the video surfaced.
Perez said that although they got back together after his assault, the relationship dissolved soon after. She hadn’t heard from him until last week, when Vasquez gave a press conference in his native Venezuela, where he currently lives, to address the viral video footage. “I assume total responsibility,” he told reporters. “It was something that happened in 2016, it was a very sad moment for my family and I.”
The baseball player, who has since married another woman, also said during the conference: “In 2017, I didn’t have a [baseball] contract in the United States. I was denied many visas and many doors closed for me.”
The only thing Perez regrets is staying quiet. “That is unforgivable. I shouldn’t have been so passive,” she said. She also sent a message to her ex-boyfriend on camera: “May God bless him and enlighten his path and his mind,” she said. “I hope those classes he took make him change.”
Perez now lives with her family and has rebuilt her self-confidence. “We as women are worth a lot,” she said, “we don’t have to live in a man’s shadow.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233; http://www.thehotline.org. Safety Alert: Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.